Monday, August 15, 2022

A single mutation could make the Zika virus more infectious and able to break through immunity, researchers warn

Top Line

A small mutation could potentially make the Zika virus more infectious and able to evade pre-existing immunity, according to a peer-review published Tuesday. cell reportUnderscoring the risk of a virus that spread through Latin America in 2015, sparked a global health crisis and left thousands of babies to be born with birth defects and brain damage.

important facts

Zika mutates rapidly as it moves back and forth between its human hosts and mosquitoes, a cycle that the researchers mimicked by repeatedly switching the virus between mosquito and mice cells to see how many mutate the virus. will change the behaviour.

Researchers found that changing just one amino acid – a type of chemical that is vital to life and the building blocks used to make proteins – allowed the Zika virus to make more copies of itself and catch infection more easily. Helped, the researchers found increased replication of the virus. in human, mosquito and mice cells.

A high replication rate in mosquitoes or humans “could increase viral transmission or pathogenicity – and lead to a new outbreak,” said study first author Dr. Jose ngel Regala-Nava, an associate professor at the University of Guadalajara in Mexico.

Based on experiments in mice, the researchers said that the mutant variant may also evade protection against Zika after infection with dengue, a different but biologically similar virus.

If the Zika variant becomes prevalent in humans, we may face a similar problem with immunity, warned co-lead Professor Suzanne Shresta, a viral immunologist at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology.

Shresta and other researchers are already exploring ways to adapt any future Zika vaccines and treatments to combat the dangerous mutation and hope to learn more about how the mutation helps the virus replicate more efficiently, Getting a better understanding of this will make a difference.

main background

Carrying on the wings of mosquitoes, an obscure virus first discovered in the Zika wilderness of Uganda in 1947 swept the US and sparked a global health panic in 2015. While the virus causes no or only mild symptoms for most adults who catch it, it can trigger serious birth defects if you infect someone who is pregnant. The outbreak halted travel and prompted officials to stop people from having children. According to CDC data, the disease also spread within the continental US, sickening more than 200 people in Florida and Texas and affecting thousands of other travel and US territories. The agency says there have been no confirmed cases of Zika virus disease in US territories since 2019. The World Health Organization says that evidence of mosquito-borne Zika infection has been found in a total of 86 countries and territories. Despite continuous efforts, there is currently no vaccine for this virus.

what to see

next pandemic. Experts believe that the next pandemic could be caused by a virus like Zika. In late March, the director of the global infectious threat preparedness team at WHO, Dr. Sylvie Bryand said the next pandemic would be “very likely” caused by a group of pathogens called arboviruses, which are spread by arthropods such as ticks and mosquitoes. The family includes Zika, yellow fever, chikungunya and dengue and is already a significant public health problem in many tropical regions. “We also have some indication that the risk is increasing,” Bryand said, pointing to rising rates of dengue and yellow fever since 2000.

further studies

Between Zika and Dengue viruses that could lead to the ‘next pandemic’ (Telegraph)

People vs. Mosquitoes: What to do about our biggest killer(s)

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